By Monira Munni
Plummy Fashions Ltd. has a USGBC LEED certified factory where more than half of the factory premise is open to providing a sense of comfort for its workers. The factory includes six buildings within 22 bighas of land with gardens and natural lakes creating balanced eco-system for a feeling of relaxation and tranquility for the workers. “A unique feature of the factory is its open space that is nearly 60% of its total area. Such open spaces are not required for green factories but we still provided it to create a natural feeling,” stated Fazlul Hoque, the Managing Director of Plummy. He expands upon the organization of the area, focusing on the division of the buildings, “Each of the buildings specifically caters to a specific part of the preparation of fabrics and clothing. There are separate buildings for cutting and sewing, administration and knitting, and one for dying.” The main production section where workers’ occupancy is highest is the cutting and sewing floors. The steel structured building has a lawn surrounding the floors with a total of 11 exits and five stairs. Fazlul explains that this is to facilitate evacuation within 30 seconds of an emergency.
This Knit products manufacturing unit is located in Narayanganj, 20 kilometers South of Dhaka city. It was awarded a LEED Platinum certificate from the US Green Building Council (USGBC) for its environmentally-sound production process in September last year. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating is a points-based system where a rating level is achieved once a project meets all the prerequisites and a minimum number of points. Depending on the number of points earned, a project may be labeled as LEED Certified, LEED Silver, LEED Gold or LEED Platinum. In this context, Plummy Fashions Ltd. earned 92 points out of 110 which is the highest for the knit garment industry amongst all apparel producing industries.
Plummy achieved 25 points out of 26 in sustainable sites, 10 out of 10 points in water efficiency, and the unit received 31 points out of 35 in terms of energy and atmosphere, according to the USGBC website. The RMG factory attained 7 points out of 14 in material and resources category, 10 out of 1 for indoor environmental quality, 5 out of 6 in innovations and is 4 out of 4 in regional priority credits as indicated on the website. The site also provides secure bicycle parking facilities and encourages the use of non-fossil fuel transport.
Not only is the facility environmentally friendly and using optimal space for innovation and efficiency, it features an optimal space for workers and their everyday needs. Fazlul elaborates, “One of the buildings is dedicated to the numerous needs of the employees. It has space for the training, prayer room, child care and health care of workers. Additionally, the dining space allows for 500 workers to eat at any time; it is situated near the lake to provide an open space. The management would also like to set up high-rise buildings to reduce risk factors.”
The factory is 40% energy efficient, 41% water efficient and 35% efficient in terms of carbon emission. “The 21 line units have a total of 44 skylights for optimal use of daylight, moreover, there are 66 air coolers to keep the inside atmosphere cool and save energy”, Fazlul added. The factory has a rainwater harvest system that ensures that 6 million liters of water can be preserved. A 65 KW capacity solar power plant with highly efficient mono-crystalline panels is a key component of the factory’s green strategy. The facility produces at least 110 MWh energy every year, which is 13% of the total power required. “Our solar plant is the largest solar energy plant in Bangladesh and the factory has utilized a state of the art skylight system to trap natural sunlight for lighting its facilities,” postulated Fazlul.
Plummy Fashions Ltd. has also installed a class leading natural water management system which is recycling and reusing both rainwater and surface water. In order to comply with USGBC core standards and guidelines for building and management, the factory follows LEED strict manufacturing standards. Fazlul further elaborates, “An effluent treatment plant has also been set up and the treated water is reused in the factory’s dyeing section.” The factory has installed digitally calibrated machines essential for utilizing solar energy, CFC free cooling systems, efficient water fixtures, LED lighting, low energy plants minimizing the company’s carbon footprint.
With an environmentally friendly factory, Fazlul prioritizes employees, “Despite a strong emphasis on the environment, people remain at the core of all initiatives. The company’s ethos is geared towards the well-being of workers and employees.” To assure that safety measures are taken if a disaster were to occur, there are teams of trained firefighters among the workers for any emergency.
Terming the factory the ‘greenest’ in the knit category, Fazlul plans to expand the unit to 50 lines from the existing 21 line capacity. The factory mainly produces knit items for the European Union while it has entered to Brazil, Chile, and some other potential markets. Fazlul is hopeful for a future where investors are more environmentally conscious, “The green factory initially requires a substantial amount of investment but yield long-term dividends. Many more entrepreneurs are coming up with such green factories in the country that will help build the image of our nation.”